Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Nocebo Effect: Placebo's Evil Twin

By Brian Reid
Source: Washington Post

Ten years ago, researchers stumbled onto a striking finding: Women who believed that they were prone to heart disease were nearly four times as likely to die as women with similar risk factors who didn't hold such fatalistic views.

The higher risk of death, in other words, had nothing to with the usual heart disease culprits -- age, blood pressure, cholesterol, weight. Instead, it tracked closely with belief. Think sick, be sick.

That study is a classic in the annals of research on the "nocebo" phenomenon, the evil twin of the placebo effect.

While the placebo effect refers to health benefits produced by a treatment that should have no effect, patients experiencing the nocebo effect experience the opposite. They presume the worst, health-wise, and that's just what they get.

"They're convinced that something is going to go wrong, and it's a self-fulfilling prophecy," said Arthur Barsky, a psychiatrist at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital who published an article earlier this year in the Journal of the American Medical Association beseeching his peers to pay closer attention to the nocebo effect. "From a clinical point of view, this is by no means peripheral or irrelevant."


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Low Self-Esteem Shrinks Your Brain

By Pallab Ghosh
Source: BBC

People with a low sense of self worth are more likely to suffer from memory loss as they get older, say researchers.

The study, presented at a conference at the Royal Society in London, also found that the brains of these people were more likely to shrink compared with those who have a high sense of self esteem.

Dr Sonia Lupien, of McGill University in Montreal surveyed 92 senior citizens over 15 years and studied their brain scans.

She found that the brains of those with low self-worth were up to a fifth smaller than those who felt good about themselves.

These people also performed worse in memory and learning tests.

Dr Lupien believes that if those with a negative mind set were taught to change the way they think they could reverse their mental decline.

He said: "This atrophy of the brain that we thought was irreversible is reversible - some data on animals and some data on humans shows that that if you enrich the environment if you change some factors this brain structure can come back to normal levels"

Researchers are studying which psychological treatments work best.

According to Dr Felicia Huppert of Cambridge University - the early signs are that fairly simple techniques can have an enormous impact:

"There are interventions which talk about focusing on positive things in everyday life and savouring good moments even at times when life is difficult little tiny things may give you pleasure so there are skills involved in how to derive pleasure from the ordinary things in life".

According to Dr Lupien, the fear of memory loss may be a self fulfilling prophesy as anxiety leads to negative thinking which leads to mental impairment.

"If you always think it's normal to lose something, then you will never work to increase it because doctors have always told you that. I'm saying that it is not normal.

"So this might impact positvely on the public by saying that its possible to impact on increasing your memory performance and by saying that it is normal to have a fulfilling life, we may be able to increase self esteem among the general public - and prevent a lot of these deficits related to age".

Related Article: 4 Ways to Boost Your Self Confidence

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Prosperity Secrets of the Universe

The new issue of Mind Power News is now available to be read at

This Week:

--> Money: An Illusion, A Shadow of Something Else
--> How to Create Exactly What You Want
--> Prosperity Secrets of the Universe
--> Six Ways of Thinking Rich


Thursday, April 19, 2007

7 Destructive Habits of Incompetent People

By Michael Lee,
Author of How to Be a Red Hot Persuasion Wizard

WARNING! If you want to have a fantastic life, never engage
yourself in these 7 deadly habits that incompetent people do.

Number 1 - They Think, Say, & Do Negative Things.

Yup. They see problems in every opportunity.

They complain that the sun is too hot. They cursed the rain for ruining their plans for the day. They blame the wind for ruining their hair.

They think that everyone is against them. They see the problems but never the solutions.

Every little bit of difficulty is exaggerated to the point of tragedy. They regard failures as catastrophes. They become discouraged easily instead of learning from their mistakes.

They never seem to move forward because they're always afraid to come out of their comfort zones.

Number 2 - They Act Before They Think.

They move based on instinst or impulse. If they see something they like, they buy at once without any second thought.

Then they see something better. They regret & curse for not able to take advantage of the bargain.

Then they spend & spend again until nothing's left. They don't think about the future. What they're after is the pleasure they will experience at present.

They don't think about the consequenses. Those who engage in unsafe sex, criminality, and the like are included in this group.

Number 3 - They Talk Much More Than They Listen

They want to be the star of the show. So they always engage in talks that would make them heroes, even to the point of lying.

Oftentimes they are not aware that what they're saying is not sensible anymore.

When other people advise them, they close their ears because they're too proud to admit their mistakes.

In their mind they're always correct. They reject suggestions because that will make them feel inferior.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Simple Technique to Help You Remember Anything

Source: Memory Improvement Techniques

You might have heard of Mnemonics and how they can help you improve
your memory.

Mnemonics aren't difficult or tiresome activities; in fact, it's as
if there's no pressure when doing the actual memorization because of how simple and pleasant the steps can be. An example of a mnemonic method is the Loci System.

A good scenario when the loci system can be effectively used is when a person has several items or a list needed for immediate remembering. The first important thing to remember when using the loci method is the familiarization of a place and the correct order of locations of the chosen place. It could be the dining room, bedroom or kitchen at home or a favorite route in the park. It doesn't matter where, as long as the location can be easily recalled accurately by the doer.

Let's say, the specific locations are the parking lot, pond, willow tree and the benches in the park. So, let's pretend the items are umbrella, dog food, cell phone and picnic basket. To associate the items, visualize strongly hundreds of open umbrellas falling down on the parking lot as you find a space where you could park. Next, as you pass by the pond, you pick up the usual dog food to feed the fish followed by the big willow tree bearing cell phones for fruits and lastly, as you sat by the benches, a picnic basket approaches and sells you what is inside it. Each time you visit the park or any other place you're strongly familiar with; you can immediately associate the specific locations with any items you need to remember.

When using this method, it's better to imagine objects in familiar places in bizarre or amusing ways because it helps a lot in retaining information.

Click here to learn more about the Loci System and other memory improvement techniques.

Hypnosis Can Cure Female Sex Phobias

By Tamara McLean

Hypnosis can help cure women of sex phobias like fear of sperm, a sexual health congress has been told.

Melbourne psychologist Dr Janet Hall told the gathering of sex therapists that she had successfully freed several women from their sexual problems by hypnotising them.

Some of these women had a fear of sex sparked by a condition caused vaginismus, contractions which make intercourse painful and often impossible.

"I've found that with hypnosis you can get them to rehearse the sex act in the safety of their own imagination," Dr Hall told the conference in Sydney today.

"That way you can change their negative thoughts to positive and help them reframe the problem to show them there is a solution."


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Meditation Techniques for Better Sleep

By Remez Sasson
Author of Peace of Mind In Daily Life

Do you fall asleep immediately after entering bed or do thoughts and worries begin to flow into your mind, keeping your sleep away? Do you find it hard to stop them?

When you are in bed at night there are fewer outside distractions, it is quiet and dark, and therefore you are more aware of the movements of your mind. You feel that thoughts are attacking you, not giving you a moment's rest, especially if you are experiencing some problems in your life.

If you are not healthy you will probably think about your health. If you have problems at work, then thoughts about these problems will probably flood your mind. A child will have thoughts about his parents, teachers or examinations, and a businessman about his work. Thoughts, worries and fears that are usually repressed during the day surface up and swarm the mind.

What would be willing to do to free yourself from these nibbling, restless thoughts that prevent you from falling asleep? Won't you be happy to be able to silence all the thoughts that pop up when you are in bed?


Saturday, April 14, 2007

Simple Ways to Strengthen Your Brain Power

The new issue of Mind Power News is now available to be read

This Week:

--> Boosting Brain Power: Can You Make Yourself Smarter?
--> How to Prolong Your Brain Power
--> Playing With Children Boosts their Brain Power
--> Memory Upgrade Chips Coming
--> Two Basic Ways to Strengthen Your Brain
--> 77 Brain Hacks to Learn Faster, Deeper, Better


Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Human Brain: Marvel or Mess?

By Sharon Begley
Source: Newsweek

Let others rhapsodize about the elegant design and astounding complexity of the human brain—the most complicated, most sophisticated entity in the known universe, as they say.

David Linden, a professor of neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University, doesn't see it that way. To him, the brain is a "cobbled-together mess." Impressive in function, sure. But in its design the brain is "quirky, inefficient and bizarre... a weird agglomeration of ad hoc solutions that have accumulated throughout millions of years of evolutionary history," he argues in his new book, "The Accidental Mind," from Harvard University Press.

More than another salvo in the battle over whether biological structures are the products of supernatural design or biological evolution (though Linden has no doubt it's the latter), research on our brain's primitive foundation is cracking such puzzles as why we cannot tickle ourselves, why we are driven to spin narratives even in our dreams and why reptilian traits persist in our gray matter.

Just as the mouse brain is a lizard brain "with some extra stuff thrown on top," Linden writes, the human brain is essentially a mouse brain with extra toppings.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The New Science of Consciousness

By Laurie Nadel, Ph.D.
Author of Sixth Sense: Unlocking Your Ultimate Mind Power

The term “new science” was first introduced in 1964 by the late Nobel neuroscientist Dr. Roger Sperry (1913 - 1994). It is based on the premise that your consciousness– your point of focus which can be compared to a cursor on your computer screen– can create physical effects in your brain as well as the other way around.

Like most great ideas, the core concept of the new science is simple, but its ramifications are staggeringly complex. Although as few as an estimated 5 percent of scientists accept its basic tenets, the new science is taking hold in the behavioral and social sciences, particularly in cognitive psychology, which emphasizes the importance of such abstract mental processes as intuition, insight, and visual intelligence over external behavior.

Whereas behaviorists believe that they can treat behavior without addressing the mental state, cognitive psychologists say that mental states organize and control behavior. Evolutionary theorists working in biology and related sciences are beginning to accept the new science, too. Because it believes that consciousness can cause physical change, the new science is also referred to as “the consciousness revolution.”


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Do Animals Have Telepathy?

A cat disappears when her owners go on vacation each year, yet arrives back at the house right before they return.

A man sits on the couch, his dog alseep in the next room. He thinks, "I should take Daisy for a walk," and suddenly his dog comes bounding in the room, leash in mouth.

A cat curls up next to the phone just before a family member calls, but never when anyone else is about to call. These stories are told by many pet owners from all over the world.

Most dogs and cats are attuned to their owners and learn their patterns, read their body language and anticipate what's going to happen next.

But there are so many stories of pets seeming to know more than their natural senses would allow that it has been the subject of study and debate for years. Are their natural senses even greater than we ever imagined? Or do they have a sixth sense?


Saturday, April 07, 2007

Mind Power Stories You Shouldn't Have Missed

The new issue of Mind Power News is now available to be read

This Week: Stories You Shouldn't Have Missed

--> Near Death Experiences of the Rich and Famous
--> Do You Live Forever in a Parallel Universe?
--> The Real "Secret" is to Take Action
--> Top 10 "Bad" Things That Are Good For You
--> Can Your Eyes Reveal Your Personality?
--> Simple Ways to Enhance Your Memory

...and much, much more...


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Does Poor Recall Cause Past-Life Memories?

By Christopher Mims
Source: Scientific American

Do you sometimes have memories of a mysterious past life? Recall odd experiences such as being abducted by aliens? Wonder where these memories come from and if, in fact, you were really once whisked off in a flying saucer by ETs?

Seems the answer may be simpler than you think—or remember. A new study shows that people with memories of past lives are more likely than others to misremember the source of any given piece of information.

Study author Maarten Peters of Maastricht University in the Netherlands tested patients of "reincarnation therapists," who use hypnosis to help their patients remember "past lives," which the clients believe are at the root of their current problems.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Do Robots Need Sleep?

By Bill Christensen
Source: LiveScience

In his recent paper What Do Robots Dream Of, Dr. Adami, Professor of Applied Life Sciences at the Keck Graduate Institute, speculates that a robot might benefit from some "down time" just like people do.

Recent work in the study of dreaming indicates that more than just subconscious entertainment is going on. Sleep appears to help us work through and understand events of the day. Sleep also seems to provide a mechanism for impressing important memories on the brain, to make sure we have a long-term record of an event or concern. Sleep also seems to have a role in learning a skill; people who practiced a skill and then slept on it were more skillful than those who had not yet had a chance to sleep.

Dr. Adami speculates that if robots were given an alternate state, one in which the robot stopped exploring and instead focused on a problem or obstacle, it could provide benefits for them just like it provides benefits for human beings.